WHEN AN ALPHA IS MARKED BY ONE OF HIS OWN KIND

Chapter 103

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The year after Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao got their marriage licenses, DG went on to win a triple crown—they took the spring tournament, the summer tournament, and the world championship once more, cementing themselves as one of the most glorious teams in the history of the LPL.

At the same time, BLX's Mo Mo and Lele also retired that year.

That year became lauded as the most memorable year in the LPL. New gods ascended to the throne while old gods fell. DG's fan base grew and grew, and inevitably some would get too full of themselves and flaunt their victories in front of others. BLX's fans had already been down in the dumps at that time. When they saw fans from another team mocking them, they instantly fought back. Neither side backed down, and their feud became legendary. It would last for many years to come.

In the third year, Zheng Zhizhuo and Zhao Yue began to flourish on a new team. They took down DG in the spring tournament that year, only to have DG take their revenge in the summer tournament. Both teams made it to the finals of the world championship, with DG coming out on top in the end.

Some fans groaned about the fact that all of the LPL's world championship trophies had been won by Team DG, but DG's fans were happier than anyone.

Until it was time for DG's glory to fade.

First, Old Wo retired.

Then it was Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao.

Qian Bao was the player who stayed with DG the longest, becoming the pillar of their team. Er-Hua and Fish, who'd returned from abroad, both became coaches at DG.

Old Wo was pressured into going to a marriage meeting by his family, and he soon used the money he'd earned from esports to start a prosperous business. He quickly became the wealthiest member of their group, and had a happy family with two kids in three years.

……

[Wow! Wolf Cub, how long has it been since you last visited us? Tell me! Tell me right now! Who's more important to you? Me or Dog Lu?]

[Forget all that, you have to let us see you start that new game today! I want to see you play Resident Evil 10! Hurry, hurry!]

[Didn't he only take one day off yesterday? It hasn't been that long?]

[Qiaoqiao, Qiaoqiao, look at me, look at me!]

[Can someone get all the squawking chickens up there to shut up? Thanks!]

[Don't pick up bad habits from Dog Lu, okay? I'm getting goosebumps, seriously. Why are you guys calling him Qiaoqiao? Call him laogong!]

May of 2025.

Shen Qiao was streaming from home. As soon as he entered the livestreaming room, tons of gifts and bullet comments came through. He politely thanked the big tippers as per usual, then opened up LoL as he pleased.

Strictly speaking, his retired life wasn't all that different from his professional life. He'd signed a contract with a streaming platform, and he worked from ten in the morning to six in the evening, still streaming League of Legends. If he ever got bored, he would maybe open up a game of fight the landlord.

His time as a professional gamer had influenced him greatly. Shen Qiao still relied on LoL to earn a living. The game had become part of his life; he was completely inseparable from it now. Researching new champions, changes, skills, and so on had become a natural part of his life, like eating and drinking water.

So streamer, commentator, and coach were the most natural choices of a profession for him after he retired.

After entering the gaming industry, it wasn't very easy to do anything else after retiring from competitive play.

Shen Qiao queued up on the Korean server. There was no movement in five minutes, so he figured he may as well open up a game of fight the landlord on his desktop. He chose no-shuffle mode, and when he got his first hand of cards, he was dealt two bombs—four 2s and two jokers.

Shen Qiao raised his brows. "I can't really imagine a way to lose with these cards."

He boldly took the opportunity to be the landlord. After another player took a turn, Shen Qiao immediately threw out the four 2s. That left him with a queen, a king, and a pair of jokers.

After he tossed out those four 2s, none of the other players could do anything but pass. So Shen Qiao threw down the two jokers as well.

The bullet comments—

[???????]

[What kind of strategy is this? You still have two cards left, you know? Gege, please wake up!]

[Who's going to explain to me what happened during his day off yesterday? Why has my favorite top laner come back stupid?]

[To tell you the truth, I couldn't imagine how anyone could lose with this hand either. But Wolf Cub is giving me a very, very vivid image of how that'll be possible.]

Although Shen Qiao hadn't counted cards, he calmly explained, "Don't worry. They're all scared stiff by my cards. I can win—"

As he said that, he threw down a king.

One of the peasants played an ace.

Shen Qiao blinked. "…huh?"

He kept his expression calm and indifferent as he stated, "I have such a good hand. If I lose this one, it must be the CPU's problem. Not my problem."

The bullet comments—

[?????]

[This is the meanest I've ever seen someone be to their peasants.]

Then, the opponents got rid of the cards in their hands, one pair at a time, swiftly getting rid of every last one. Shen Qiao watched as his bet was withdrawn from his account. The system seemed to automatically take pity on him, sending him some currency to bail him out.

A laugh came from behind Shen Qiao.

A pleasant voice spilled into his mic. "Is that you? You're being a philanthropist today?"

The bullet comments—

[!!!!!!]

[Ahhhhh, Captain Lu isn't at work today? I'm here, I'm here, I'm here! Captain Lu, look at me, look at me!]

[Let me take a look at your laogong, Wolf Cub. Just one look, I promise!]

[I feel like I just got transported a few years into the past, then I remembered—oh, our Captain Lu has already changed his persona. We should call him President Lu now. President Lu, look at me! Are you still in need of a secretary?]

[President Lu, we met at the hotel yesterday! Do you remember me?]

Shen Qiao was silent.

"Moderators, please start doing your job," he stated coldly. "Before I go live tomorrow, be sure to prepare some extra chicken cages."

Lu Zhe smiled. He didn't disturb Shen Qiao's work. After retiring, he'd started up his own venture capital firm in order to invest his funds and grow them into more. He worked pretty hard those days.

A few days ago, he'd gone on a business trip. He'd only gotten back early in the morning yesterday.

As soon as he got back, he'd wound himself around Shen Qiao and clung to him for a long while. That was precisely why Shen Qiao had taken a day off yesterday.

But the audience in Shen Qiao's livestream was destined to never find out about that.

Lu Zhe did briefly mute Shen Qiao's mic and lift away his headset, lowering his head to whisper, "What do you want to eat? I'll cook."

Shen Qiao looked over at him and answered, "Anything is fine. If you make it, I'll eat it."

Lu Zhe teased, "If I don't want to cook, will you eat me?"

Shen Qiao fell silent for a moment.

"…get out."

Lu Zhe laughed, then tousled his hair. He turned Shen Qiao's mic back on before leaving the room, closing the door for him along the way.

……

Half an hour later.

The thump of a chair hitting something sounded out from Shen Qiao's streaming room.

Lu Zhe came in, holding a spatula and sounding a bit worried as he asked, "What happened?"

Shen Qiao, still wearing headphones, was standing in front of the large desk where he streamed. He turned back to look at Lu Zhe, then took a breath to steady himself. Calmly, he answered, "It's nothing."

Lu Zhe blinked.

He gave Shen Qiao a suspicious look.

But Lu Zhe was a bit too far away, so he couldn't see the bullet comments scrolling across Shen Qiao's screen. All of which said—

[HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA]

He could only look Shen Qiao up and down with uncertainty in his eyes. "Are you sure?"

Shen Qiao nodded. "Mm. I just accidentally bumped the desk when I got up earlier."

Lu Zhe, still half-doubting that, simply warned him to be careful before heading out again. Shen Qiao released a breath of relief, then pulled his chair back over and sat back down to face that screenful of ridicule.

[I'm laughing my ass off, hahahahahaha! I didn't expect Wolf Cub to look like such a tough guy, but to get scared enough to jump out of his seat when he gets jumpscared a ghostly face!]

[Didn't someone say he wouldn't be scared at all?]

[Didn't you say horror games weren't scary at all? Hm? Hmmm? Who was it who said that?]

[Wolf Cub, the poor cub who was scared away.]

Shen Qiao calmly straightened out the cord of his headphones and said to the viewers, "That was a mistake, just an accident. You guys just wait until I find a weapon. Then I'll deal with that ghost."

Another ten minutes passed.

Lu Zhe distinctly heard a scream from inside Shen Qiao's streaming room.

He was so shocked that he nearly poured a plate of fried rice back into the pan.

With a plate in each hand, he returned to the room and nudged open the door again. This time, he clearly saw Shen Qiao's screen—it wasn't his usual League of Legends on the screen at all, but a horror game. And from the looks of it, it was psychological horror.

After suffering a few jumpscares in a row, Shen Qiao jolted and looked around with wide eyes when he saw Lu Zhe return.

It took him a while to calm down.

Then he immediately quit out of the game and self-righteously said to his viewers, "I'm going to eat lunch now."

The bullet comments—

[Coward.]

[Noob.]

[You're no good. Let your man have a turn.]

[I want to see you and Captain Lu play horror games together. That way I can watch you play, and I can watch you hide in fear in Captain Lu's arms at the same time.]

[Who's Captain Lu! All of you, call him President Lu!]

Shen Qiao acted like he hadn't seen any of those comments. He lowered his head and focused on eating his fried rice. But Lu Zhe, who wasn't visible in the camera, did glance at the comments before he asked, "Playing a horror game?"

Shen Qiao hummed and said, "Garbage game. I'll turn it off later."

Lu Zhe laughed.

Then he offered, "Want me to help you find a walkthrough?"

Shen Qiao perked up just a bit.

……

"Turn left. You have to lead the ghost around in circles here."

"Cir… circles? Why am I running so slow? Is she chasing me? Lu Zhe, help me look!"

"She's probably chasing you. I have the same perspective as you, baobei. Oh, right over there—in the grass, there's a well. You have to jump down."

"Jump down the well? But the well looks so dark. Is it okay to not jump?"

It was two in the afternoon.

The viewers were all extremely discontent now—

[Shut your mouth! What are you saying 'baobei' for! Gross! That's illegal!]

[Ahhhhh, lady ghost, please come out and take these two people away! I don't want to see their PDA!]

But Shen Qiao had no time to pay attention to any of these comments. The atmosphere in the game was becoming bleaker and bleaker. Coupled with the strange background music, he felt a little scared even listening to Lu Zhe talking behind him.

Shen Qiao cleared his throat and looked back at Lu Zhe to ask, "Can you not sit behind me?"

Lu Zhe blinked.

"Then where should I sit? In your lap?"

Shen Qiao froze.

The bullet comments—

[!!!!!!!!]

Shen Qiao held in his reaction for a few seconds, then spotted a save spot in the game. He quickly saved and said to his viewers, "We'll stop the horror game here for today. I'll be going back to League of Legends next. That game is still more suitable for me."

After saying that, he coolly turned back to Lu Zhe to say, "President Lu, it's time for you to go back to work, sir."

Lu Zhe flashed him a mild smile.

He didn't protest, but seeing as someone had been scared quite badly by a horror game today, Lu Zhe didn't go out to work. He simply pulled up a chair and brought his laptop in to work next to Shen Qiao.

……

As Lu Zhe expected…

That night, Shen Qiao insisted on not turning off the lights when they went to bed.

Lu Zhe glanced over at him. "Sure, that works. I can see more clearly if we don't turn off the lights."

They were so close that their breathing was practically entangled already.

Shen Qiao pushed at Lu Zhe's head, shooing Lu Zhe back to his own side of the bed. He struggled with the decision for a moment before he said, "Then… let's turn off the lights after all."

See more clearly?

As if he would let Lu Zhe see anything.

Lu Zhe breathed a laugh and laid a hand on the top of Shen Qiao's head. In a deep voice, he whispered, "Push me again and I'll go sleep in the study. You can sleep by yourself."

Shen Qiao was silent.

Many horrible images from earlier that day flashed through his mind.

He forced himself to stop pushing, only turning his head away. He grumbled, "Cut that out. I won't be threatened by you."

Lu Zhe lowered his head and pressed a kiss to Shen Qiao's cheek. His voice was soft and warm as he said, "Mm. It's just that I want to sleep with you. I really, really want to sleep with you."

Shen Qiao turned back to face him squarely. "Then why can't you behave and just sleep?"

Lu Zhe blinked with an earnest expression on his face. "Because I need a sleeping aid, to help me sleep faster and deeper."

This man's features had matured somewhat, making him look even more alluring.

He was every bit like a cunning fox spirit, turned into an especially captivating human.

Shen Qiao held back for a while, but didn't resist temptation for long, even though his waist was still a little sore from last time. He still silently tipped his head up, giving in to Lu Zhe's desires.

……

They both fell asleep very quickly.

Shen Qiao had worried that he would dream about those awful images from the horror game after he fell asleep, but he didn't.

He dreamt of his first year of high school.

In that dream, it seemed his mother wasn't Shen Jinyi. He lived with another family, one not as wealthy as the Shen family, but he still led a very nice life. He once again entered the same high school he'd attended in real life, but this time, when he first laid eyes on Lu Zhe, he was the first to approach.

"Hey."

In Shen Qiao's dream, a tall, slender boy in their school's uniform looked back at him.

Their gazes met. Shen Qiao froze for a few seconds, then suddenly approached the other and said, "You… are very good-looking. Do you want to be my boyfriend?"

Lu Zhe raised his eyebrows, looking him up and down for a moment. He smiled then, and easily answered, "Sure."

……

Slap.

It was the sound of Shen Qiao shifting restlessly in his sleep. His hand had flailed out, smacking Lu Zhe's arm.

Lu Zhe furrowed his brow and woke to see that it was already light out. He turned to see Shen Qiao still sleeping. The corners of his lips quirked up, and his brows relaxed as well. A natural smile took over his face.

He wrapped Shen Qiao up in his arms and hugged him to his chest, trapping the other's restless arms.

Shen Qiao seemed to be woken by Lu Zhe's movements. He blearily called out, "Lu Zhe."

"Mm," Lu Zhe answered.

"I had a dream," Shen Qiao mumbled.

"What was it?" Lu Zhe prompted obligingly.

Shen Qiao lifted a hand to scratch at his ear, then closed his eyes and said, "I dreamt I slept with you in our first year of high school, and this time I topped."

Lu Zhe fell silent.

He rolled onto his front and planted one hand by Shen Qiao's ear. With a soft smile in his gentle voice, he asked, "Really? Exactly how did that happen? Go ahead and tell me the details."

The half-awake Shen Qiao had yet to sense the danger he was in.

As a result, he was three hours late to his livestream that day.

……

As sweat dripped down their bodies, a hoarse voice called out—

"Lu Zhe."

"Hm?"

"Dreams aren't real…"

"I know."

"You know, but you're still—ngh! Gentler!"

After a long while.

Two scorchingly hot bodies intertwined under the covers. A voice rasped, "I just wanted to say… this is perfect too."

"I know."

You're by my side.

Everything is perfect.

We once stood in glory, and our story has become a legend. Now we've stepped behind the curtains, and our suffering will fade along with that glory. We'll eventually forget it all.

But none of that matters.

I don't need glory, I don't need to make history—

I just want you.

I want us to be together for the rest of our lives. Forever.

-End-

 

Author's Notes:

Wow! Extras are complete!

Thank you for your company! Thank you for your support!

And I'm sorry the last part dragged on for so long.

Actually, the gaming parts of this work aren't written very well. My understanding of the game wasn't complete enough, and I wrote a little hastily. The narrative of their story has a lot of shortcomings as well. But, on the bright side, I still stumbled across the finish line.

See you next time!

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